Chicago is a place for innovation
Last night our Chicago office celebrated five incredible years supporting some of the highest-impact nonprofits in the city with amazing pro bono projects. It was a great event, hosted at Think Art and attended by pro bono consultants, nonprofit partners, sponsors and staff past & present. None of our incredible work could have been done without them.
I remember when I first got our office off the ground in Chicago I was concerned. It’s a city I love and is defined by incredibly strong communities that its people are proud to call home. At the same time, it’s a city and a group of people that are so steadfast – so strong and resolute in its ways – that it’s almost intimidating to introduce change.
But, over the last five years, Chicago has proven me wrong. I can say with confidence that Chicago is a place for innovation. We’ve worked with 220 nonprofits in Chicago across the community, in nearly every neighborhood. Last night, I heard from EDs of organizations we’ve worked with on the south side, the north side, the west and even the northern and western suburbs.
The power of partnerships
And Chicago is a place where cross-sector collaboration isn’t a contradiction in terms. It’s a place where partnership means pooling resources – financial resources, business resources, social service resources – so that people’s lives can improve. Our pro bono consultants get that, and are eager to give back. Last night, I met PBCs who were on their 4th or 5th project, and still eager for more! Seeing the relationships that have been formed between them and between them and our nonprofits, and between everyone who was present, it was incredible. Collaboration at its best.
And the clincher, what really proved my initial intimidation wrong? Chicago is place where in 5 years, it’s possible to channel over $16 million in pro bono services into local communities.
Last night, we heard from pro bono consultants, nonprofit EDs, and from our incredible Taproot staff who have made our work possible. The stories they told were exciting, every one of them. Seeing what has taken root in Chicago was remarkable, and entirely inspiring. It was an honor to be there, and to know that our work will continue full speed ahead. A toast! To millions more in pro bono service to the Windy City!